Eugenio Amos , Race Driver/Entrepreneur

Interview, 12 November 2018

Men like Eugenio Amos are a dying breed.

Born into a family deeply entrenched in the Italian auto industry, Amos grew up to become a successful racing driver, collector of beautiful cars and marrying the heiress to the Missoni fashion empire.

Today, the 33-year-old lives a quiet family life in the town of Varese at the foot of the Alps. In his newly built home there is a subterranean garage where Amos keeps his collection of both rare and carefully sourced cars. Most of which are painted in his favorite color – racing green. Ranging from a Ferrari F40 to a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, the collection is not only jaw-dropping and exquisite, but its owner makes a point of driving each and every one on a regular basis.

Eugenio Amos doesn’t just collect cars for show or bragging rights. Each car has a sentimental value to him and his passion for the history of racing and the complex composition of the machines is something he values highly.

In 2017 he founded his company, Automobili Amos, who’s first mission was to re-build the Lancia Delta Integrale. An Italian motor sport staple that won no less than six World Rally Championships.

The result, a Delta Integrale completely overhauled with more than 1000 components replaced from the original version, with a 330-horsepower engine, an aluminum widebody and carbon fiber bumpers, bonnet, boot lid and rear spoiler, was named the Lancia Delta Futurista.

The result of this rather bold undertaking was showcased at the premier edition of the Grand Basel car show in September of this year, and had enthusiast and collectors sent into a flurry.
Even though the price for a Futurista lands at over 300,000 dollars a pop, almost all of the 20 specimens are sold, and plans for a second edition are well under way.

We tracked Eugenio Amos down somewhere at the foot of the Italian alps and engaged in a conversation about his love for racing, if engaging in a difficult task based on pure passion is a good idea and why he “longs for a bygone, idealized time when men, values and substance were at the core of the product”.

Where does you love for cars stem from?

– My family ran a tool company that supplied mechanical tools to all the Formula 1-teams and the Moto GP-teams back in the 80’s and 90’s. My father always had nice cars himself, but he was nowhere near as crazy and obsessive as I am. I can’t really explain it. It’s like asking a drug addict why he is addicted to drugs, I suppose we both got a taste for it and ended up getting hooked.

What was the first car you ever owned?

– It was a Mini Cooper that I got back in 2004. It was a used car, the first to be produced by Mini and I remember it clearly as being my first love. Nothing beat that when it came to emotional value. And no car I have owned since has evoked such emotions in me like that Mini Cooper.

How did you get into motorsports?

– I started driving local rallies in my hometown when I was 19. But I wasn’t very good with left and right, so I decided to start competing in circuit racing, where I didn’t have a co-driver which was much easier for me. I was quite successful as a professional amateur in circuit racing and I went from there to participate in the Dakar Rally. More recently I have been test-driving for the car building projects, so that’s where I get my kicks nowadays.

Tell us about your garage and your collection?

– I have been thinking about the aesthetics of the garage for as long as I can remember, so when I finally built my own house I knew exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want it to be a regular garage, rather a living room with cars in it. And I am quite happy with the result.

“My passion for this machine was at the center of the project the whole time.”

One thing I appreciate hearing is that you actually drive all the cars in the garage. Is there a particular favorite, and if so, when is the best time to take it out for a ride?

– There’s not really a favorite one because I love all of them. When I take them out I usually know exactly where I am going, and I always go with a purpose, like to a car meet or an exhibition. I never take any of the cars to the bar or the supermarket because I live in a very small village where everyone knows everyone. I like to keep a low profile.

Is that why all your cars are green, for camouflage purposes?

– (Laughs) Yes, exactly. To move stealthily through the forest…

Walk us through the thought process that led you to want to re-build the Lancia Delta Integrale.

– Well right after dropping out of university I took my first job as a salesman and I was still racing cars at the time. I was also involved in the auction market for cars, so I really had a 360 preparation to enter the car business as a small volume manufacturer. My favorite car was the Delta and I knew what I was looking for in a car in terms of drivability and I knew the market, so I told myself to give it a try. I hired one of the best industrial design studios in Italy and it turned out that we were both equally passionate about the Delta. The next step was to find a great engineering consultancy and I managed to find and convince the one I wanted to get involved. We all teamed up and the rest is history.

How long did it take to complete the first car?

– Since I hired the engineering and design teams up until we recently showcased the car at Grand Basel in September it took three years. The edition will consist of 20 cars plus my own, so a total of 21 machines. 16 of these are already sold so we have four left. Due to the overwhelming response we might create another series; however, this time with completely different features.

The Futurista was recently on display at Grand Basel. What was the reception like?

– The Grand Basel event was a fantastic occasion but since it was so young and fairly unknown, the quantity of visitors wasn’t that high. But we presented the Futurista on social media at the same time, so we could have been anywhere in the world to be honest. The internet went crazy over the car which was amazing considering that we didn’t put a single dime into the marketing budget. All the funds were invested into the product. So, the word spread fast and organic as it can do on the internet these days.

“I never take any of the cars to the bar or the supermarket because I live in a very small village where everyone knows everyone. I like to keep a low profile.”

In September, you wrote a passionate post, sort of a manifesto, on your Instagram in regard to the Lancia project. One of the quotes read: “I long for a bygone, idealized time when men, values and substance were at the core of the product.”
Can you elaborate on this train of thought?

– I think it’s quite obvious what I meant. The car, good or bad and whether you like it or not, was built by me for me. My passion for this machine was at the center of the project the whole time. It wasn’t conceived by some marketing team or a sales team, but purely after how I wanted it to be. It’s no bullshit. I think it has become watered down today with these “limited edition series” that you see various companies put out. I don’t even buy new cars anymore. Vintage cars on the other hand were made by and for passionate people. No other company would have dreamt of doing this type of project today because the details we implemented were “unnecessary” in a conventional sense. The details in question have no effect on drivability or performance but were essential to me, so I invested a lot in this on a personal level.

So, what can we expect next from Automobili Amos?

– I want to do another Delta-series of 10 to 15 cars inspired by rally or safari. Less slick and less Scandinavian than the previous project. Something a little more aggressive and a little tackier, in a good way. Should we succeed with that – I want to go maximum attack on a car with our own chassis.

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